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  1. #1
    Forum Member jmal's Avatar
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    Question Resume

    Hey all.

    Im in need of some help with my resume, specifically dealing with the wildland job description. This is my second year as a temp for the USFS. My question is do I make an extreamly detailed job description for my resume/avue/usajobs? Or should it just be basic straight to the point? some have told me after reading thousands of apps chances are he/she will not want to read your long drawn out description. Others have told me he/she will be impressed with the knowledge and scope you have on your job. last year i was a GS3 this year I am and GS4, maybe include your job description from your resume and avue so I can get a good insight.

    Thank you for your time

    J


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    Jmal, it is better to error on the side of too detailed, but don't just pile on the words.
    You are not just trying to catch the attention of a captain, you first have to make it through a screener at human resources who probably has no idea what you do. This is true of all Federal jobs, not just wildland.

    This is my 6th year as an engine captain and have been involved in the hiring process of both temporary and permanent positions for the past 11 years.
    Although we obviously have a good idea what someone does in a particular position, we are not allowed to assume, if you don't say it you didn't do it. I have seen GS4 firefighters not qualify for a GS4 position because they write such a vague description of work that human resources rates them as a GS3. Do not use a brief statement like I worked as a firefighter on an engine, get into the meat of your job, at least one or two descriptive paragraphs.

    It is also not simply a matter of including enough. Your application can impact how you are perceived. If it doesn't look like you spent very much time on the application it suggests you are not that interested in the job you applied for. Use spellcheck, have someone look at what you wrote to see if it makes sense. Make sure you include all your employment and contact information. You would be amazed at how many people fail to list a supervisor and / or contact numbers. I can not call a forest and ask to speak to George, I need a full name and where he works. If there is an issue like your supervisor was retiring or you know he took another job, say so in your comments so we don't think you are trying to be deceptive or you forgot to list him. Provide the infomation for a lower level supervisor (the FEO, AFEO, Squad Boss etc) that knows you if you know the captain no longer works there. You can also list the captain under references if you know his current position and contact info.


    I would suggest you look at your official job description for ideas, but do not just cut and paste huge walls of text. The official position descriptions tend to be wordy and vague. Trim it down and personalize it to your experience.

    Do not assume what you did as a GS3 on your crew is the same as a GS3 on my crew. Some captains are very rigid and only allow a GS3 to do a very narrow set of tasks, others are more focused on the individual and assign worked based on individual talents. We don't know which type of supervisor you worked for, the experience level of the crew or what talents you have so describe your experience.

    Think of your description as a written interview. What would you imagine we want to know about your experience?

    At a minimum tell us what kind of crew you worked on, light engine, heavy engine, hotshot crew, fire effects crew, helitack etc.

    What equipment did you operate and how often? If you used the saw a little bit in training, or to brush out a few road signs under close supervision then "operated chainsaws" is fine, but someone who ran a saw all summer on a fuels crew really should take credit for that.

    Did you get any special training or did your crew anything special. Not all helitack crews rappel, so if you were on a rappel ship and you were a rappel qualified crew member definately say so.

    Be honest, there is a fine line between trying to sell yourself and telling tall tales. We do call supervisors, so make sure they will support any above and beyond claims you make.


    I only go back 10 years on my resume, so no longer have any examples of my job description as a GS 3 or GS4, but I would be happy to critique any examples you are considering.
    Last edited by Here and there; 07-05-2012 at 04:12 PM.

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    Also firefighters from non-federal agencies can be helpful for general info, but tend not to know much about how we operate or hire. You will frequently see people advise candidates to stick with a one page resume. That is for them, not us. Unless you have only had one or two jobs that probably isn't going to happen.

    Capt Bob may have a great track record with municipal departments but most of what he recommends does not apply to Federal job seekers.

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    Thank you Here and There,

    That was the information I needed and answered all of my questions and more! Ill get with shortly in a PM with some of my application info if thats okay with you.

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    As a general question about the application process, when the phrase "previous fire experience" is used what exactly does that constitute? I have 4 years of structural firefighting experience with all the brush fire experience that comes in a suburban county surrounded by rural farms I could get my hands on. I have also been red card certified for 3 years with Maryland Department of Forestry but the whole significant wildfire experience I have is one 18 day assignment on the Wallow Fire during the 2011 season.

    I applied for crews last summer and when I got a call back from a couple of hand crews they asked why I had put my experience as a firefighter under volunteer (I should mention it's a career/volunteer fire department) and said that I should put it under work experience. This was my first time applying so I made the mistake of not even contacting crews outside of the online application process so all they knew about me was what was on there, so I could see the benefit of putting something like that under work experience.

    Given I just gave you half my life biography my question is: what can I honestly say is "fire experience" that all crews look for in new hires?

    Also, Here and there, would you be willing to also look over my resume/experience?

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    I know almost every app is different

    Do not see what they are saying
    But what you might do is add an attachment so it explains your firefighting history so there is no misunderstanding

    Or for this particular app list it in both places

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    I am referring to the general application on AVUE or usajobs.com.

    What I am asking is for a better definition of "fire experience". Does this include the time I have been on a widlfire crew but didn't have any calls for 2 of the seasons?

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    Sorry for the delay in responding, I've been away.

    Personally I would list volunteer / on call / part time fire positions under work experience. Describe your volunteer time realistically. Some municipal fire departments consider a 10x10 fire in a city park or vacant lot wildland, some have full blown urban interface. As supervisors unless we are familiar with the agency we have no way of knowing which type an applicant is coming from, so make sure you tell us, talk about the fuel types, tools used, training received etc. If you do a lot of grass fires with mobile attack and you are applying for a job in Nevada or Southern Idaho that could be very relavent, less so for a crew in Northern Montana (big timber).

    I can't speak for all, but personally at the GS3-4 level I am looking at basic competance and good references. I'm just looking for someone who has a clue what he / she is signing on for and a lack of problems (poor attitude, laziness, dumb as a box of rocks etc).

    On call fire crews are quite common and many supervisors started on these types of crews and / or take these crews out on assignments. We know some years they will see a lot of fire and some years there was nothing but spring training or project work. I would focus on the positive, list the significant events (training, long duration fire assignments etc). I don't really know how HR views these crews for length of service, but I would list the dates you are considered available and mark it as a part time job, if you have to show hours per week add up the fire assignments, training hours, project hours etc and divide by the availability time. That is how I listed my volunteer time and never had a problem with HR.

    AVUE is going away this year, so I don't know what options the new E recruit will include.

    Happy to look at resume stuff here or by PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fire49 View Post
    I know almost every app is different

    Do not see what they are saying
    But what you might do is add an attachment so it explains your firefighting history so there is no misunderstanding

    Or for this particular app list it in both places
    The Feds are particularly weird. For most jobs the application is pass / fail and just gets you through the door. With the Feds it is often your application, writen test, and oral interview wrapped up in one.

    Many of us do take the time to interview applicants, call on references etc, but there are times someone just looks through the apps, picks one to send to HR and they offer the applicant a job at the pay grade HR decides they are qualified for. One of the engines on my district had a firefighter go out for the season due to injury and the replacement hired was the first qualified applicant that answered the phone.

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    I don't see any attach function on the forums or in private messages, do you have an e-mail I can send it to or would you prefer I just format it for a forum post. It may be a chance for you to give pointers on that as well considering some online applications require resumes to be submitted in their text boxes.

    I was not aware AVUE will no longer be used this year, but good information to know as I'm preparing my online profiles now.

    Thanks for the advice in your response, it will be very helpful.

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    Here is some stuff I have come across for anyone that finds their way to this thread.

    http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/ccc/internsh...sume.guide.pdf

    http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/ccc/internship/sampleresume.pdf

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    Quote Originally Posted by SchoolBoy View Post
    I don't see any attach function on the forums or in private messages, do you have an e-mail I can send it to or would you prefer I just format it for a forum post. It may be a chance for you to give pointers on that as well considering some online applications require resumes to be submitted in their text boxes.

    I was not aware AVUE will no longer be used this year, but good information to know as I'm preparing my online profiles now.

    Thanks for the advice in your response, it will be very helpful.
    I don't know if you can include attachments but it should be simple enough to cut and paste into a PM. We can go from there.

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    Default Resume

    Here and There, I tried to PM you this but when I right click on your name that is not an option. I have my PM option activated because I have corresponded with other people on these forums. Have you ever run into this problem before?

    Below is my resume, based on the template I found for government agencies in the link I previously posted. I have left out obvious contact information to secure to privacy of my references.


    Objective
    To obtain a position in Fire management with the U.S. Forest Service/Bureau of Land Management/National Park Service.

    Education
    University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland
    Major: Fire Protection Engineering Expected Graduation: December 2012
    GPA: 3.1
    • Performed independent research on existing wildfire spread models (Rothermel) and helped develop improved physics-based model

    Community College of Baltimore County, Essex, Maryland
    Major: General Studies, Engineering Transfer
    GPA 3.2 Graduated August 2010

    Eastern Technical High School, Essex, Maryland
    Major: Engineering
    GPA: 3.0 Graduated June 2008

    Work Experience
    Kingsville Volunteer Fire Company June 2008 – Present
    Firefighter/EMT/Rescue Technician
    • Respond to fire (structural, brush, industrial) and medical emergencies in highly populate suburban area of Baltimore County
    • Acquire firefighter, emergency medical, and specialized rescue training and certifications

    Supervisor: Phone #:

    Maryland Wildfire Crew 2010 – Present
    • Completed annual refreshers and arduous pack test to be red carded FFII
    • 2011 Season – Mobilized with Type 2 IA Crew for New Mexico/Arizona fires during the month of June (Wallow/Horseshoe 2)

    Poole Fire Protection Engineer, Olathe, Kansas June 2012 – August 2012
    Fire Protection Intern, 40 hours/week - $13.00/hour
    • Design fire alarm and sprinkler systems for structures
    • Review designs for compliance with codes and standards

    Supervisor: Phone #:

    Gunpowder Falls State Park, Baltimore, Maryland Summer, 2007-2011
    Head Lifeguard, 40 hours/week - $12.50/hour
    • Perform patron surveillance, rescues, and emergency care for large crowds (2000+)
    • Manage lifeguard team including scheduling and training
    • Trained lifeguards in first aid, CPR/AED, rescue skills, and open water rescues
    • Performed park maintenance including trash pickup, cleaned bathrooms, operated heavy machinery, mow/trim grass

    Supervisor: Phone #:

    Fire Evaluation and Testing Center, College Park, Maryland October 2011 – Present
    Laboratory Technician, 15 hours/weeks - $7.50/hour
    • Construct and drywall rooms for fire tests and specialized testing aperature
    • Performed standard fire tests in accordance with ASTM and UL standards
    • Maintained laboratory inventory system using FileMaker Pro (200+ items)

    Supervisor: Phone #:

    Campus Recreation Services, College Park, Maryland January 2011 – February 2012
    Lifeguard/Lifeguard Instructor, 10 hours/weeks - $10.15/hour
    • Perform patron surveillance, rescues and emergency care
    • Provide bi-annual recertification and monthly training for lifeguard staff (100 lifeguards)

    Supervisor: Phone #:


    Certifications
    NWCG Certifications: S-130, S-190, L-110, S-211
    Incident Command System: I-100, I-200, I-700, I-800
    NBFSPQ Certifications: Firefighter 1&2, Hazardous Materials Operations, Fire Service Instructor 1, Rope Technical Rescuer 1&2, Surface Water Technical Rescuer 1&2
    Medical: Maryland State Emergency Medical Technician - Basic
    American Red Cross: CPR/AED, Lifeguarding & Waterfront Lifeguarding, Lifeguard Instructor

    Activities/Hobbies
    • Wildland-Urban Interface research
    • University of Maryland Club Rugby
    • Crossfit training, swimming, running, cycling

    References

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    I think I fixed the PM issue, apparently I had it set not to accept PMs.

    Experience wise it looks like you are on the right track. I'd probably flesh out some of the more related job descriptions to bring more attention to them. While you did list your certs seperately it wouldn't be a bad idea to duplicate them somewhat under work experience. If you got the basic 32 through the hand crew it is something that could be listed there, and I assume you work as an EMT at the VFD and lifeguard job? It just provides a second chance for someone to pick up on it, and to see you actually have some experience. Lots of people list EMT but have no practical experience, so highlighting that you actually do use it is a good thing. Also under education it might be worth getting a little more into what you did with the Rothermel models. You are not going to be hired for your knowledge of them but it could peak someones curiosity and make you stand out from the pack.


    I found one of my old resumes that lists some of my early positions which may be of some help (and Jmal asked for examples). These are the job descriptions I used as a USFS crewperson and volunteer firefighter. I don't think I would write them exactly the same way, but they still hold up as decent examples of what kind of info should be included.


    GS 4 Engine crew member
    Job Duties:
    • Perform wildland fire suppression while working as a crew person on a Model 61 Type 3 engine.
    • Operate a variety of hand tools and power equipment to perform fire suppression and project work including chain saws, axes, Pulaskis, McLeods, shovels, portable pumps, self contained breathing apparatus and hose lays.
    • Provide emergency medical care to patients with illness or injury.
    • Maintain, inspect, and repair tools, hose, apparatus and equipment.
    • Drive engine and operate pump as needed (5 speed manual transmission with splitter).
    • Participate in daily physical training.
    • Complete project work on the forest when not committed to fires.


    Volunteer Firefighter / Apparatus Operator
    Job Duties:
    • Provide emergency response including structure and wildland fire suppression.
    • Perform fire suppression and rescue operations using a variety of hand and power tools including hydraulic rescue tools, chainsaws, portable generators, positive pressure ventilation fans, axes, Pulaskis, McLeods, shovels, Halligan tools, pry bars, ropes and ladders.
    • Operate medical equipment including semi-automatic defibrillator.
    • Test, maintain and repair hose.
    • Inspect and maintain apparatus, tools and equipment.
    • Drive and operate fire apparatus including Type 1, Type 3, Type 6 engines and a Type 1 water tender (9 speed manual transmission).
    • Provide water for firefighting operations from a water source by hydrant, drafting, portable water tank or water tender.
    • Inspect fire apparatus monthly and before / after use.
    • Complete monthly maintenance checks; perform routine maintenance and minor repairs.
    • Complete engine company administrative paperwork including engine log, response reports, training records and patient care reports.
    Last edited by Here and there; 08-11-2012 at 02:01 AM.

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    Thank you for these examples of job descriptions, they helped me make the connection to relevant information for wildfire work.

    You mentioned AVUE would be phased out of the USFS application process, do you have any idea if it will be replaced by another service or if the load will just be dumped on USAJobs?

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    We are supposed to be going to something called E recruit, and unfortunately that is about all I know right now. Kind of scary since AVUE is going away and this E recruit comes on line in about a month, and at least at the ground level we have been told next to nothing. That does put a kink in our ability to recruit potential candidates since we can't tell them how to apply.

    This change should only apply to USFS jobs though, this is a DOA program, the DOI agencies (NPS, BLM, USF&W, BIA) will continue to use their current practices.

    USAJOBS should continue to be a reliable source for job postings, either playing a larger role if E recruit is connected, or a similar role linking to the job application site (as it currently does with AVUE).

    AVUE will go away completely so any info (resumes etc) you have there that you want to keep should be copied and saved because all records connected to USFS accounts will be deleted at some point in September.

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    I just got some new info on e recruit. It will work with USAJOBS, using your USAJOBS profile. You will also be able to track the jobs you applied for through USAJOBS.

    The transition will occur in September with AVUE completely going away by Sept 30.

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    Default Resume Update

    Thank you very much for your help with my resume. As October is approaching many of the contacts I have made with IHC supt have informed me they are preparing to begin recruiting for the 2013 season. Here is an updated version of my resume after the suggestions you made. Any other recommendations for comments or format would be greatly appreciated.

    Objective
    To obtain a position in Fire management with the U.S. Forest Service.

    Education
    University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland Expected Graduation: December 2012
    Major: Fire Protection Engineering
    GPA: 3.1/4.0
    • Performed independent research on existing wildfire spread models (Rothermel) and helped develop improved physics-based model

    Community College of Baltimore County, Essex, Maryland Graduated August 2010
    Major: General Studies, Engineering Transfer
    GPA 3.2/4.0

    Eastern Technical High School, Essex, Maryland Graduated June 2008
    Major: Engineering
    GPA: 3.0/4.0

    Work Experience
    Gunpowder Falls State Park August 2012 – Present
    Maintenance/Trails Crewmember
    • Perform duties as assigned throughout 18,000 acre park
    • Operate heavy machinery including backhoe, tractor, and forklift
    • Use hand and carpentry tools to build and maintain various structures and features within park
    • Use chainsaw (14" bar) to remove hazard trees and blow down

    Supervisor: Phone #:

    Kingsville Volunteer Fire Company June 2008 – Present
    Firefighter/EMT/Rescue Technician
    • Respond to fire (structural, brush, industrial) and medical emergencies in highly populate suburban area of Baltimore County
    • Acquire firefighter, emergency medical, and specialized rescue training and certifications
    • Perform fire suppression and rescue operations using a variety of hand and power tools including: axes, Halligan tools, shovels, Pulaskis, McLeods, fire house (1-3/4” to 3”), fire pumps, ladders, ropes, and hydraulic rescue tools
    • Test and maintain equipment, apparatus, and tools
    • Complete administrative paperwork including fire log, EMS report, training records, and maintenance report

    Supervisor: Phone #:

    Maryland Wildfire Crew May 2010 – Present
    Firefighter Type 2 Crewmember
    • Perform wildland fire suppression while working as a crew member on a Type 2 IA crew
    • Operate a variety of hand tools to perform fire suppression including Pulaskis, McLeods, shovel, portable pumps, and fire hose
    • Maintain, inspect, and repair tools
    • Participated in/contributed to daily safety briefings
    • Completed annual refreshers and arduous pack test to be red carded FFII
    • 2011 Season – Mobilized with Type 2 IA Crew for New Mexico/Arizona fires during the month of June (Wallow/Horseshoe 2)

    Poole Fire Protection Engineer, Olathe, Kansas June 2012 – August 2012
    Fire Protection Intern, 40 hours/week - $13.00/hour
    • Design fire alarm and sprinkler systems for structures
    • Review designs for compliance with codes and standards

    Supervisor: Phone #:

    Gunpowder Falls State Park, Baltimore, Maryland Summer, 2007-2011
    Head Lifeguard, 40 hours/week - $12.50/hour
    • Perform patron surveillance, rescues, and emergency care for large crowds (2000+)
    • Provide emergency care for traumatic and medical emergencies
    • Manage lifeguard team including scheduling and training
    • Trained lifeguards in first aid, CPR/AED, rescue skills, and open water rescues
    • Participate in daily physical training
    • Performed park maintenance including trash pickup, cleaned bathrooms, operated heavy machinery, mow/trim grass

    Supervisor: Phone #:

    Fire Evaluation and Testing Center, College Park, Maryland October 2011 – Present
    Laboratory Technician, 15 hours/weeks - $9.00/hour
    • Construct and drywall rooms for fire tests and specialized testing aperture
    • Performed standard fire tests in accordance with ASTM and UL standards
    • Maintained laboratory inventory system using FileMaker Pro (200+ items)

    Supervisor: Phone #:




    Certifications
    NWCG Certifications: S-130, S-190, L-110, S-211
    FEMA System: I-100, I-200, I-700, I-800
    NBFSPQ Certifications: Firefighter 1&2, Hazardous Materials Operations, Fire Service Instructor 1, Rope Technical Rescuer 1&2, Surface Water Technical Rescuer 1&2
    Medical: Maryland State Emergency Medical Technician - Basic
    American Red Cross: CPR/AED, Lifeguarding & Waterfront Lifeguarding, Lifeguard Instructor

    Activities/Hobbies
    • Crossfit training, swimming, running, cycling
    • Wildfire research
    • University of Maryland Club Rugby

    References

    Mike Browning
    Park Manager - Gunpowder Falls, Hart Miller Island, and North Point State Parks


    Dan Bunker
    Crew Boss, Maryland Wildfire Crew

    John McCarthy
    Squad Boss, Maryland Wildfire Crew


    J.R. Kuchta
    Owner/Coach, Solution 1 Fitness

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    Sorry for the very delayed reply, I've had a rather hectic July, August and September.

    The resume looks good, now just make sure you keep on your contacts. Making contacts and staying in touch (at least once a month) to make sure they know you are interested and still available is very important. If you are looking at a crew try to talk to captains and supts, you may click better with one or the other of them better than the others.

    Understand Hotshot crews are very competitive and often try to get their "new" hires off of other agency crews, so don't put all your efforts into one or two crews. Consider engines and fuels crews to get your foot in the door even if Hotshots is really where you want to be.

    Let me know if you have any other questions, I should be a bit more prompt now that fire season is winding down.

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